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Can I furlough my husband?

Accountancy practice run from home

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Good morning all

I hope that you can help me....

I run a small accountancy practice down here in the south west. My business has been badly affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, to a point that I have had no work provided to me since the middle of March 2020.

I employ my husband. I have an online PAYE account and he is paid a monthly salary at a level that he pays National Insurance.

My business is run from home. Obviously, given the current situation, I cannot have client callers and I am not happy to go and collect business records from clients' premises. In any event, I usually like to see my clients face to face when business records are being handed over. Plus.....most clients would not like to be incurring accountancy fees at the moment, if not absolutely necessary.

My question is....

Can I furlough my husband? I see no reason why this is not possible. Does the fact that we run the practice from home exclude me from being able to furlough him? He has been 'properly' employed by me for over 10 years now.

I also intend to 'claim' SEISS, if HMRC contact me in this regard. I suppose that is another question. Do other practitioners who run their businesses from home intend to 'claim' SEISS?
I would normally have received the majority of my year ends 31/12/2019 by now, but none have come in. My income has suffered, even though I hope that I will 'catch up' when things return to normal. I will certainly lose clients because of the financial impact on them and the fact that they will lose their businesses.

Your thoughts would be most appreciated.

Thanks. Stay safe.

Replies (18)

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By Duggimon
09th Apr 2020 11:23

If you furlough your husband he can only perform his basic statutory duties as your husband and won't be able to do any work for you. No DIY, cooking, or cleaning, only co-signing items for joint accounts or paying bills is allowed.

Also, I'm sorry to break it to you but if you furlough your husband he is entitled to go and be someone else's husband in the meantime.

Thanks (19)
Replying to Duggimon:
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By rememberscarborough
09th Apr 2020 11:27

On the "Carry on" them is he declaring all his BIKs...

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By rememberscarborough
09th Apr 2020 11:25

Avoiding the old joke about husbands not doing any work at home (ask my missus) I would have thought this shouldn't be a problem as long as you're not asking him to do any of your company's work. How HMRC would police this is anyone's guess but if you had another employee you would probably furlough them with no issues. Good luck.

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By Duggimon
09th Apr 2020 11:27

For a serious answer, if your husband is employed through your PAYE scheme at 28 February and is now furloughed, you would be entitled to the grant as his employer. The fact he's your husband is irrelevant. At least so far as we know just now.

As for the SEISS, I expect all self employed people who are entitled will claim it. It would appear likely it will be repaid to the government if it turns out your profits did not drop over the crisis, but that's no reason not to claim, at worse you'll be no worse off than if you hadn't claimed at all.

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ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
09th Apr 2020 11:49

I’ve furloughed my wife. She is our part-part-part-part-time ‘marketing & hr’ director.

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Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
By Duggimon
09th Apr 2020 11:54

I've furloughed our cat, he has agreed to do no work whatsoever throughout the crisis, and indeed thereafter.

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By legerman
09th Apr 2020 12:58

Quote:

I've furloughed our cat, he has agreed to do no work whatsoever throughout the crisis, and indeed thereafter.

Are you able to claim 80% of his monthly Kit-E-Kat allowance?

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Replying to legerman:
By Duggimon
09th Apr 2020 13:33

I'm not sure, I don't know how the furlough scheme applies to benefits in kind.

I was unable to secure his agreement to drop his entitlement to 80% either so we're going to have to meet at least 20% of the cost ourselves, going to have to get on to the bank about a business interruption loan.

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By Trish Baillie
17th Apr 2020 10:43

Similarly my cat has point blank refused to help with the filing and has therefore been furloughed. Her sole contribution this week has been to walk across the keyboard and into camera shot while I was on a Zoom call - the other participants appreciated her input more than I did.

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By Trish Baillie
17th Apr 2020 10:43

Similarly my cat has point blank refused to help with the filing and has therefore been furloughed. Her sole contribution this week has been to walk across the keyboard and into camera shot while I was on a Zoom call - the other participants appreciated her input more than I did.

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By Trish Baillie
17th Apr 2020 10:43

Similarly my cat has point blank refused to help with the filing and has therefore been furloughed. Her sole contribution this week has been to walk across the keyboard and into camera shot while I was on a Zoom call - the other participants appreciated her input more than I did.

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By meadowsaw227
17th Apr 2020 10:34

Interesting question as we have never been so busy.
Books being couriered to each persons house and left for a few days to de-contaminate .
Vat up to date , accounts up to date , tax returns being filed and now furlough claims all ready to be input on the 20th plus currently working on business interruption insurance claims.
Pity about no money coming through the door but hey ho should still have some clients when it all blows over.
Oh to be furloughed.

Thanks (1)
All Paul Accountants in Leeds
By paulinleeds
17th Apr 2020 11:28

Is this a serious questions or a wind up?

It's from 'Anonymous'. Why do you have to be anonymous?

You are an accountant, at the start of the new tax year, and 'I have had no work provided to me'.

You deal with only paper records! Do you not have emails? Do you not work and provide advice to your clients?

Can you not stand back from clients and ask them to drop off record at your front door and keep your distance.

'most clients would not like to be incurring accountancy fees at the moment'. Most people do not like to pay any bills!

Do your clients not appreciate the work that you do for them and therefore 'happy' to pay a fair fee? Based on your questions I would not want to pay you myself!

Perhaps you should set up as a charity and provide free tax and accountancy services. You can volunteer under the various schemes.

Seriously, get a grip.

How can you help your clients when you ask such basic questions about well written and documented systems. It's all over the news, professional press etc. If you are not working then start doing some CPD and reading around this area.

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Replying to paulinleeds:
Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
17th Apr 2020 12:35

You seem stressed Paul. Stepping away from the computer, and in particular an internet forum littered with daft questions, might be best. Grab a tea/coffee and switch off for half an hour.

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Replying to Lone_Wolf:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
17th Apr 2020 13:02

Or watch the original cartoon"Jungle Book" or Timon and Pumba in the "Lion King" for salutary lessons in relaxation.

I will unwind today by heading out to the garden to continue my gravel washing, six barrowloads to date washed and at least 6-8 still to go, but as I work (and get exercise) the birds sing, I get the odd visit from a squirrel and over the last few weeks "Two Bee", my bee (think it is the same bee each time but hard to tell) has visited a few times. (mind you so have the less welcome snails)

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By Lin Wearn
17th Apr 2020 13:03

Thanks paulinleeds for the excellent advice provided.

If you don't know the answer, please don't bother posting a reply.

You could spend a bit of time improving your grammar. "Is this a serious questions?" for starters. "ask them to drop off record at your front door" (what LP did you have in mind?).

Anyway...

So you think it's okay for clients to travel to bring their books and records to me during lockdown, do you? Very sensible. Not.

For your information, I live out 'in the sticks' here in the west country. The majority of my clients are aged 60+ are are not technologically advanced. They prefer the old fashioned system of books and records. I expect you have a problem with that too.

Have a good day.

Stay Safe and Stay Home. Don't take your accounting records to your accountant.
We're meant to be in a lockdown situation, for your information.

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Replying to Lin Wearn:
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By Tomazaan
19th Apr 2020 17:26

We are allowed to travel for work if we cannot do the work from home and we can adhere to social distancing rules. So your clients can travel to you and drop their books off. It is in connection with their work and they can't do it from home.
If you are worried about the books and records being contaminated, you can ask your clients to leave them in a safe place (garage/ outbuilding etc) and then you go to collect them after a few days.
We all should work if at all possible and we accountants are fortunate that we can carry on working unlike those in a shop/ hairdresser etc.

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Replying to Lin Wearn:
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By bettybobbymeggie
19th Apr 2020 18:51

I'm rural and deal with mostly technically challenged clients but still getting files dropped in my porch or collecting files from a doorstep or hanging on a gate. Quick wave from ten metres away and I'm away. VAT, PAYE etc. all still need to be filed despite lockdown.

Keep calm and carry on.

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